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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 6 June 2017
I've absolutely loved this series of books. Each one is a stand alone novel but worked well as a long story across the whole series. The plot develops throughout and is wrapped up right at the end of the series - it's brilliantly written with a perfect blend of intrigue, humour and thrills. The main characters are fabulous and their roles also progress throughout the books. I love espionage stories and this is the best series I have read. I think Bernhard Samson's character is fantastic - a true, typically understated British hero, going about his job despite the restrictions placed on him by the British intelligence establishment.

Well worth a read!
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The final book of Len Deighton’s Hook / Line / Sinker trilogy (which in turn is the middle of his three trilogies about MI6 man Bernard Samson during the Cold War), Spy Sinker takes a different approach from the preceding five volumes, making reading it in order essential.

Through the previous five volumes, Len Deighton took the reader along one chronological sequence about Samson's battles with the KGB, his own colleagues and his family, all written from Bernard Samson's perspective. During that, the understanding the characters and the reader had of old events frequently got reshaped by new evidence - with a succession of different apparent traitors responsible for one particular event, for example.

In Spy Sinker, however, Len Deighton backtracks in time and volume six retraces the events of volumes one to five through a series of scenes from the viewpoints of other characters, and each of which gives a different spin on events from that presented first time round. (Sinker starts several years before the chronological sequence of the previous volumes but the earlier events it covers are ones that have previously featured in the plot.)

It's an extremely clever culmination to the storyline built up through the two trilogies and given how much of the cleverness relies on details being given a new perspective, the books are best either read by people with excellent memories or in quick succession.
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on 17 March 2016
A strange book covering stories previously told but from a different angle, Didn't really work for me.
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on 23 April 2017
Some of terminal book is repeating parts of earlier books
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on 26 April 2017
Great
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on 25 April 2001
When I first discovered the context and timing of Deighton's 'Sinker' I was, to say the least, puzzled. Although technically the third book in the Hook, Line, Sinker trilogy, its beginnings are a decade before the first two books. However, while the book could stand alone on its own merits, its place in the trilogy makes it into so much more. Though those who have read the first two books of the trilogy will know much of the way the story will twist and turn, there are still many surprises and revelations of the kind of which Deighton is the master. 'Sinker', written from a different perspective to the other Bernard Samson novels, answers many of the questions posed throughout the saga which could not have been revealed otherwise. Indeed, many of the revelations answer questions which the reader would hardly have noticed when reading the earlier novels. Those who have also read 'Winter' will gain all the more from the privilege - as is the case any of the Samson novels. Friends and foes alike return to enthrall the reader, and much more is learnt of all - the detached Anglophile Bret Rensellaer, warm yet dark Uncle Silas, the ever resouceful and loyal Werner Wolkmann, the doddering D-G, Stinnes the KGB Major and Fiona Samson, never short of a surprise. All in all the book is of class which few but Deighton can acheive, and draws you into a very personal level. A book I would recommend without hesitation to anyone.
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on 15 August 2014
Sorry to be harsh on Len Deighton - but this book is out of sequence - it goes back over the previous 5 books giving a different point of view and supplying missing detail - it totally lacks any excitement since you already know the story - I found myself skim reading and think I would have missed nothing if I had never read it
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on 29 April 2008
HOOK and LINE are both good spy thrillers in their own right, even if their overarching effect is to ruin the story that GAME SET and MATCH told so well by revealing that...well, read them and see. SPY SINKER is a different animal altogether. Deighton drops the first-person Bernard Samson point of view to retell the entire story from Berlin Game onwards from an omniscient angle. It is, therefore, a) dull, because we know everything which is going to happen anyway, only it was actually exciting the first time, and b) a redundant exercise in tying up loose ends and trying to explain away some of the more far-fetched consequences of HOOK and LINE (one character we thought was speaking in an earlier book, it is revealed, was actually impersonated by someone else (who we never met) who was good at mimicking voices. Right.) What is more, without the plot to keep you distracted, and with the best characters such as Bernard Samson and Dicky Cruyer written into the background, it is only in Spy Sinker that you notice what a rotten writer of prose Deighton is, and most of the funniest lines come when he thinks his way into Fiona's head: "he made her feel deeply feminine in a way she had never experienced before" (p122). Of course the real joke on the whole intelligence community was that when the Wall came down, noone, not even the CIA or SIS actually expected it. This would have been a sweet irony to end the series on, but Deighton tries to use his new vantage point of hindsight to make it look as if British Intelligence planned it all along. Nice try. That could be the perfect metaphor for Spy Sinker: a poor attempt to rewrite history that fails to convince.
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on 25 April 2013
This 6th and final part of the trilogy "Hook, Line and Sinker" marks Len Deighton (LD)'s second series about spy couple-with-children Bernard and Fiona Samson. Key facts are withheld in this review about what went on before. All nine books of LDs 3 trilogies (and "Winter: a Berlin Family, 1899-1945" written after the first trilogy) can be read as stand-alone spy fictions. Reading them in sequence does add value.

"Spy Sinker" is basically a 'prequel' going back to 1977 when plans were first made to place an agent inside the Kremlin or its next best alternative, East Berlin. Doing so would take many years of careful preparations with only two or three very senior people fully in the know. LD used the prequel-format also for some reverse engineering, adding new dimensions and angles, secrets even to the series' main protagonists. Fiona and Bret Rensselaer are highlighted in particular, but LD also makes clever, brief and new allusions to minor events and -actors in the series. SS ends in 1987, and has intriguing clues for the final trilogy "Faith, Hope and Charity". The back cover of my copy lauded this volume as LDs best. Not true. It is an amusing, but somewhat superfluous rehash with too much psychology.
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on 24 August 2012
When I read Spysinker I could not help comparing the Fiona in Spysinker to the Fiona in G,S,& Match,They seem to be two totaly different women.When she transforms from Bernard's ever loving to the arrogant KGB colonel her scornful attitude seem's far too real for just her cover as a double agent, it seems genuine,At the KGB headquarters she taunts Bernard with her new found authority over him and ridcules him about no longer having a wife,no children,no home,not knowing at the time she she failed to grab her kids when she defected,Also in London Match when she is arguing with Bernard over custody of the children,She pleads with him to let her have the only children she will ever have where Bernard could always re-marry and have more children,Fiona's desire to have her children with her seem's all to real, This is the talk of a woman turning her back on her old life, No double agent would bring her kids to the very country she is spying on,if Fiona was ever caught as a British spy the retribution could fall on the kids as well as Fiona if the communists are as vindictive as Bernard says they are so Fiona's defection must be genuine,Everything about Fiona to Bernard is farewell and goodbye forever,Is this the same Fiona that told Brett Rensselar in Spysinker she would only do two years as a spy then come home?.
Compare that to the Fiona in Spysinker, No arrogance,low profile, deferential to everybody even to Moskvin and even her secretary Hubert Renn is seen as a father figure,Her depression at being seperated From Bernard and the kids and how desperately she wants to be with them again A far cry from goodbye forever Bernard in London Match and her account of her confrontation with Bernard at the KGB prison is a lot less abrasive than Bernard's and her argument with Bernard over custody of the children is completely glossed over in Spysinker
It's unusual to write five books then write a sixth one to explain the first five and I believe that it is a belated attempt by Len Deighton to rewrite G, S,&M to portray Fiona's character from despised traitor to patriotic heroin,Zero to Hero in fact.
If I am wrong about this I can only put it down to Len Deighton's inability to write a consistent storyline about Fiona's character,Typical of this is Rudi Kleindorf dying in Spyline then coming back from the dead with no rational explanation in Charity.
Brian Cooper
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